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CBQ 4978 Move

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In November of 1997 is when the CBQ 4978 got the "green light" to be moved to Mendota from Ottawa IL. After a court case of who gets to do what with the locomotive the judge rules that the LaSalle County Historical Society has the right to get their property off the property were it was currently residing.
     I had the opportunity to ride with the special train enroute to Mendota. It took Hulchers about two full days to get the locomotive out of the gate were it was displayed from 1965 to the tracks in the Ottawa Silica Co. tracks about a mile away. It took another two days to get the 4978 to Mendota. It was a snowy day in November of 1997 we began from Ottawa.  The second day was sunny and bright, but cold, and we reached Mendota as the pictures below tell the story. I literally have a couple hundred photos of the whole trip and hope to compile them all on to a CD someday. A DVD documentary was made on the move and it is available at the Mendota Railroad Museum and it is titled "The Big Move."

On display in Ottawa since 1965

Freshly laid tracks await 4978 in Mendota

After Caboose the Locomotive was coming next
HUlcher's crews worked very hard to make this move possible!

Leo Muhlach greases the loco
Don Reese is seen to right and both are volunteers

Leo Muhlach oiling the wheels
All moving parts were lubricated before the move.

Hulcher's lay panel track to bring loco forward
This went on for about a mile into Ottawa Silica plant

Pulling the locomotive a little at a time
Hulcher's machinery in view

A spectator watches as it makes its way

Bringing it down the road to Ottawa Silica

Almost there!
Not enough can be said about how Hulcher's team performed.

Joining the rails in the plant!
A chilly, rainy Novemebr evening about 10pm.

At last! On the rails in the plant.
The next day would be the trip to Montgomery and the next day to Mendota

Pat Reed BN local conductor on the BIG MOVE
Pat and crew donated their time (two days) to move locomotive

A worrisome curve for 4978 but it made it okay.
The whole train is together and ready to roll after this curve

A snowy, dreamy, surreal day. Glad to be there!
Rolling along at about 15 mph

Passing through Milbrook IL

Day two was beginning in Montgomery
Mendota here we come!

On the BN main westbound

Breif Stop at Leland IL



One of my favorite pics
I will never forgot coming around that curve!


The tender backs to the caboose
It was a special moment for the museum

1950s 4978 seen working
author of photo unknown

There are so many people to thank who were involved in the movement of the locomotive. I thank Bill Greenwood and Pat Reed for allowing me to ride in the caboose on this special train. I remember it as being one of the best days of my life. With me in the caboose was conductor Pat Reed, Leo Muhlach, Harry Schaller, Bill Greenwood, Ken Holzner and Lee Stocking. Harry fired up the stove to help keep us warm because it definitely was cold and even colder the second day.
   Leo Muhlach and his wife Norma were a tremendous help to me in the collection of photos in the early 1990s before there was ever even a thought about a railroad museum in Mendota. I used those 8x10 photos to help in build the model layout of Mendota. I donated all 4,000+ hours to build it. Leo helped me build the bench work also when I arrived to Mendota to set the display up. Once I reached Mendota I stayed. I thank Bill Greenwood and Harry Schaller for helping me get started in Mendota and also allowing me to man the station for Amtrak trains.

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